10th Transat Jacques Vabre
The Transat Jacques Vabre celebrates its 10th edition this year, the French doublehanded transatlantic race continuing thanks to support from its original partners, Kraft Foods and the City of Le Havre. The race sets sail this year from Le Havre on 30 October the monohull and multihull fleets bound for Costa Rica.
At present 20 teams have registered but more are known to preparing to enter. This year's event will see the return of the Class 40 and will probably be the race's largest class supplementing the 14 IMOCA Open 60s already registered.
Top names and up and coming stars of this highly competitive class are entering including defending champion Marc Guillemot, skipper of Safran who this time will race with Yann Eliès (whom Guillemot assisted in his rescue from the Southern Ocean during the last Vendee Globe). There will be three new Open 60s making their ocean race debut including the new Cheminées Poujoulat sailed by Bernard Stamm and Jean-François Cuzon, launched this spring in La Ciotat, the new Foncia sistership, Macif, sailed by François Gabart and Sébastien Col which is scheduled to be launched on 9 August and the new Spanish Owen Clarke-designed IMOCA 60 of Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso.
As well as new boats there will be an exciting new face in the fleet, that of French World Cup winning downhill skier turned motor racer Luc Alphand. The winner of the 2006 Paris-Dakar Rally who has retired from motor racing sets sail on his first Transatlantic Race alongside Marc Thiercelin aboard DCNS. Alex Thomson will return to the Transat Jacques Vabre on Hugo Boss ready to put behind him the disappointment of missing out on last winter's Barcelona World Race, while Mike Golding in the colours of his new Spanish sponsor Gamesa will be sailing his seventh consecutive Transat Jacques Vabre.
Since 2007 the Transat Jacques Vabre has been open to the Class 40 monohulls. At the moment it looks as though 15 teams may competing including Stéphane Le Diraison on Bureau Veritas, winner of the Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables and Bestaven/Bouvet on board Aquarelle.com who finished second.
In addition the fleet is expected to include several Multi 50s including Yves le Blevec's Actual and Lionel Lemonchois' Prince de Bretagne.